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Track Saw vs Cordless Circular Saw: Which Is Best for Your Project?

Track Saw vs Cordless Circular Saw - Which is Best for Your Project

For making long and accurate straight cuts through wood, metal, or plastic, you only have three options: Table saws, circular saws, or track saws.

But if you’re looking to make those cuts at a reasonable price – or anywhere that’s not attached to a 400-pound machine – you’ll need to decide between a track saw and a cordless circular saw.

By comparing the features and benefits of track saws and cordless circular saws, we aim to leave you better informed as to which saw is worth investing your hard-earned money in. Once you understand the purposes and attributes of each saw in a deeper and more comprehensive way, we’re confident that you’ll be able to make the best decision for your home and workshop.

Our Favorite Track Saw in 2020

DEWALT DWS520K 6-1/2-Inch TrackSaw Kit
90 Customer Reviews
DEWALT DWS520K 6-1/2-Inch TrackSaw Kit
  • Zero clearance track saw cutting system delivers precise, straight, splinter-free cuts.Power Tool...
  • For use with track saw dual-edged tracks for perfectly straight cuts in both directions
  • On-track cut depth: 2-1/8 (54mm) at 90 degree , 1-5/8-inch (41mm) at 45 degree ; depth scale...

Track Saws Explained

Pioneered by German power tool manufacturer Festool in the early 1960s, track saws utilize a long metal guide and a unique plunge cutting mechanism to make incredibly accurate cuts.

a track sawThe “toe-in” blade position of a track saw allows it to cut from the front of the blade, while the back of the blade is held farther away from each freshly cut edge. In turn, this leaves almost no tear-out on the back edge – making for smoother, cleaner cuts with a polished edge that’s perfect for fine woodworking.

Besides its capability for finer cuts, another benefit of the track saw is its increased safety as compared to a circular saw. Because the entire saw is mounted on a long track, the possibility of kickbacks or accidental contact with the blade is effectively negated.

That said, the setup and preparation time for making a cut with a track saw is much greater than what you can expect from a circular saw. Add to that its much higher price tag – sometimes costing up to five times as much as a cordless circular saw – and it’s clear that the track saw is a better choice for professionals and experts than for beginners and hobbyists.

Track Saw Pros
  • Incredibly accurate straight cuts
  • Integrated rail makes it safer than table or circular saws
  • Makes finer and smoother straight cuts than any other saw
Track Saw Cons
  • Expensive
  • Takes longer to set up cuts

Tips for Using a Track Saw


Our Favorite Cordless Circular Saw in 2020

DEWALT 6-1/2-Inch 20V Max Circular Saw, Tool Only...
2,609 Customer Reviews
DEWALT 6-1/2-Inch 20V Max Circular Saw, Tool Only...
  • High strength and lightweight magnesium shoe provides jobsite durability for long-term cut accuracy
  • 0-50°(degree) bevel capacity allows for aggressive bevel cuts for a multitude of applications
  • Optimized rubber over-molded comfort grip delivers optimal balance and control; Power Tool Type:...

Cordless Circular Saws Explained

For convenience in making quick rips and crosscuts, it’s hard to beat the hand-held versatility of a cordless circular saw. They’ve long been a standby of carpenters and construction workers because of their light weight and portability, as well as their ability to accept a variety of saw blades for different cutting jobs.

a circular sawBetter at making rough cuts for sizing large manmade boards, circular saws can be a challenge to use with any degree of precision. Oftentimes, they rely on not much more than a mounted guide, your eyesight, and a steady hand to produce truly straight cuts.

Where they may be less reliable for making accurate cuts than a track saw, cordless circular saws have two major advantages: They are extremely portable and easy to use and cost significantly less than the more robustly constructed track saw. For general woodworking and construction projects, they’re an affordable and powerful option that’s suitable for beginners and professionals alike.

Cordless Circular Saw Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Great for making rough cuts and sizing larger boards
  • Inexpensive
Cordless Circular Saw Cons
  • Not as suitable for precision cuts
  • Less durable than most track saws

Tips for Using a Circular Saw

Final Thoughts: Which Saw Is Better for You?

Both track saws and cordless circular saws offer attractive options for making straight cuts more conveniently than with a table saw. For professionals and anyone requiring a high degree of precision for their cuts, the track saw is a much better option – but also considerably more expensive. If you’re looking for a saw to make rough cuts for DIY projects and home repairs, go for an inexpensive and easy to use cordless circular saw.

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